May 15 to 21, 2022 is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week across Canada. This annual observance raises awareness nationwide about the issues facing victims and survivors of crime and the services, programs, and laws in place to help them and their families. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the important work of victim service providers and other criminal justice professionals who assist victims of crime.
Police-based victim services workers, located in 91 communities across British Columbia, are often one of the first professionals a victim or survivor of crime or traumatic incident is connected with once the police have left. In 2021, 195 police-based victim services workers and volunteers assisted over 50,000 victims and survivors of crime and traumatic incidents through the 37,225 new incident files opened during the year in BC.
“Murder, motor vehicle accidents involving criminal charges, suicide, assault, sudden death, harassment, break and enter, robbery, drug overdose. You think it can’t happen to you,” said Ian Batey, Executive Director of Police Victim Services of British Columbia (PVSBC). “No one prepares themselves to be a victim of crime or involved in a traumatic incident. And then, in the blink of an eye, something unexpected happens.”
While independent from police, victim services workers are located within a community’s police agency. They provide frontline critical incident response, criminal justice information and support, practical and emotional support, and information and referral to victims and survivors of all crime types and traumatic incidents.
In addition, police-based victim services workers, support:
- People impacted by opioid deaths and overdoses
- Victims and those impacted by serious crimes, including violence related to gangs and guns
- Individuals impacted by a loved one’s mental health or substance use challenges
- Victims and survivors of gender-based and intimate partner violence, and child sexual abuse
- Family members of individuals who have been reported missing
Established in 1985, Police Victim Services of British Columbia is a BC registered not-for-profit society, with full registered charity status, dedicated to serving the needs of police-based victim services programs. As the largest police-based victim services association in Canada, PVSBC provides leadership, support, advocacy and training to professionals working in the field of victim services. PVSBC strives to ensure all victims of crime and trauma across BC receive compassionate, professional and consistent service. Local victim service offices can be contacted via VictimLink BC: 1-800-563-0808 or http://www.victimlinkbc.ca/.